Friday, July 8, 2011


Recently an old high school friend of my mother's sent her a few pictures of Victoria - the capital city of BC and, as you know if you have been reading my blog, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is also my birthplace. So I decided that I would show you some of them with a bit of explanation on what I am showing you. And maybe a little information on Victoria as well.

This is Gyro Park in the 1960s - now it is known as Cadboro Gyro Park. It is located in Saanich and is listed as 'one of  Victoria's nicest and best known ocean beaches'.

CKDA radio started on January 18, 1950 as Victoria's second radio station. David M. Armstrong first applied in 1947 to get this radio station but was denied. In 1948 he made a few adjustments and again he was denied. Finally he was approved in 1949. The station was located in the Hotel Douglas.

This is the Crystal Gardens. It is Victoria's first convention centre with an arboretum, a restaurant, art gallery and swimming pool. Opeing in 1925 it was designed by Frances Rattenbury and P. Leonard James and was operated by special arrangement by the Canadian Pacific Railway until 1964. When the lease with the CPR expired management reverted to the City of Victoria.

This complex was the centre of Victoria's community events. The building boasted two full ballroom dance floors, a gymnasium, tea room, and Turkish baths. This was the place to go for beauty contests, business conferences, art shows and even military training exercises.

In 1971 it was closed and later handed over to the Province and  placed under the Provincial Capital Commission’s stewardship. It reopened in 1980 as a tropical garden and conservation centre. The garden exhibit closed in 2004 and reopened as a privately operated multi media attraction about the British Columbia experience. That ran from June to September 2006.

This is the pool at Crystal Gardens. Once it was the largest saltwater swimming pool in the British Empire.

This is the entrance to the Glass Castle. It is actually located 3 miles south of Duncan on the Trans Canada Highway and was built in 1963.

Wooded Wonderland at Beaver Lake. Now it is referred to as Elk/Beaver Lake and is a haven for nature seekers from everywhere.

This is St. Ann's Academy. Construction started on this building in 1871 and was designed by Joseph Michaud and was executed by Charles Vereydhen, an architect born in Belgium. This
former Catholic girl's school is as old as the province - 1871 was the year BC became a Canadian province. (The website for the academy is filled with information if you are interested.)

Construction on St. Joseph's Hospital started in 1875. And many years later a very special event happened there - my mother was born in this hospital. It is also associated with the  Sisters of St. Ann's who were associated with St. Ann's Academy.

This is the boathouse at Oak Bay around 1962.

This is the fire hall at Oak Bay about 1964.

This was the patch for a motorcycle gang in Victoria.

And I think that most of us know of this motorcycle club.

Here we have some images that represent the diverse history of entertainment in Victoria. I couldn't find anything on Popeye's Bar or the Beaver Inn but the Old Forge is now Legends and the theatre was a drive-in theatre that closed in 1979.

This band formed in the seventies and is still together today.

This is an old photo of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory which went into operation on May 6, 1918.

The Victoria Cougars were a Pacific Coast Hockey Association ice hockey team. The Cougars were the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup - they won it in 1925 - and the last west coast team to win the cup until the Anaheim Ducks won in 2007. Interesting stuff.

I have more photos but I'll show them another time. For now I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. I'd love to see more Wooded Wonderland photos if anyone has any. PS Roxxlyde is playing at our 2011 Xmas party!!!

    1. Thanks for reading and writing. I hoped I remembered to thank you before.

    2. Hello,
      A copy of my postcard of the largest tree turned into a slide at The Wooded Wonderland is at the offices.
      What's left of the tree is still there;if you know where to look!

    3. Thanks for the information and for reading my blog. Happy New Year!

  2. This is awesome! I was born and raised/still live in Victoria and was just looking up some photos of Caddy Bay. I love learning more about local history.

    1. I am so happy you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. You've captured some of my best memories as a child here. One of my fondest, but most vague is the Wooded Wonderland. I too was born and raised in Victoria, and still live here.

    1. In case I forgot to say it, thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. I am another WOODED WONDERLAND fan! I used to go there as a small child, and it features in a chapter in my novel QUEST FOR THE ROSE (a post-apocalyptic YA novel coming out this summer from Koru/Oloris publishing) This novel is unique in that it's set in an alternative world 70's Victoria!

    1. Your book sounds interesting Janet. I write paranormal and my latest series is set in Vancouver. I like to combine the fictional present with historical facts.

      Thanks for reading.

  5. Wow - do these pictures ever bring back memories - swimming lessons at the Cyrstal Pool, playing at Gyro Park, etc. Born in Victoria and never left the Island until I was 15, gone for just over a year and then back - wouldn't leave it again for anything

  6. Wow , just found this site. This is amazing stuff. Born in Victoria in 1955. I have been to all of these spots at one time or another. Every Sunday at Cadboro Bay. Loved to swim there. thanks for the memories Karen, Rick Spencer

    1. Thank you Rick. I am glad you enjoyed the photos